Studying and passing the FE Exam

This article is sponsored in part by Become a sponsor(what’s this?)

About the FE exam

The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is a required test for those pursuing a professional engineering license. Many colleges and universities encourage students to take the FE exam as an outcome assessment tool upon the completion of the education coursework. The National Council for examiners for Engineering and Surveying is the administration body for this exam. All registrations and questions pertaining to the FE exam should be addressed to NCEES.

How to prepare

There are several resources available to help you prepare for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. The NCEES offers both sample examinations and diagnostic tools prepared by engineering professionals and reviewed annually and revised as needed. View the complete listing of FE study materials or call the NCEES Customer Service Department at 1-800-250-3196 if you have questions about exam preparation materials.



Because books cannot be taken into the FE exam rooms, the NCEES provides a copy of the FE Supplied-Reference Handbook at the exam site, which is to be returned at the end of the exam. This is the only reference you will have during the exam.

The Reference Handbook contains only reference formulas and tables; no example questions are included. It is not designed to assist in all parts of the FE exam. For example, some of the basic theories, conversions, formulas, and definitions that you are expected to know have not been included.

You can obtain a Reference Handbook in advance of the exam for review, but the copy you purchase in advance cannot be brought to the exam. Some licensing boards furnish their applicants with a Reference Handbook that has been recycled from a previous administration. These recycled copies may or may not be the version used for the next exam administration.

Approved Calculators


Casio FX-115MS Plus Scientific Calculator – BUY

Hewlett Packard

HP 33S Scientific Calculator (F2216A) – BUY HP 35s Scientific CalculatorBUY

Texas Instruments

Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator –  BUY Texas Instruments TI36X Solar Scientific CalculatorBUY

The Test

The exam is eight hours long altogether, split into two four-hour sessions with a 30 minute lunch break in between. Typically the morning session begins at 7:15 am, however, one hour passes between when time is called for the morning session to end until admission starts for the afternoon session.

Morning session

The morning session is a 120-question general exam for which all examinees must sit, while the afternoon session consists of 60 questions and is more discipline-oriented.

Afternoon session

For the second half, examinees choose one of the following seven tests: chemical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, or general engineering (similar in content to the morning exam, but far more detailed). The choice does not have to be made in advance, but rather on the day of the test.

The topics covered by the general exam are covered in the courses taken by engineering undergraduates, and include the following,

Mathematics | Chemistry | Computers | Statics | Dynamics | Strength of materials | Material science | Electrical circuits | Thermodynamics | Fluid mechanics | Engineering economics | Engineering Management Ethics |

Environmental Engineering | Biology (Afternoon only; general discipline) |

Those who pass the exam are designated Engineer In Training or given an equivalent designation, such as Engineer Intern, by their state’s licensure board for engineers, and are partway through the certification process. After completing an apprenticeship (the length of which is set by state law and based on the type of degree received) an EIT may qualify to take the Professional Engineer (PE) exam. join-the-discussionCertification is awarded upon successful completion of the PE exam. The standard time of apprenticeship under a Professional Engineer is 5 years of work experience for graduates of an ABET-accredited engineering program.

For more on the EI exam, join several active discussions on the topic.

Guide for new engineers | Back Next | Landing Your First Job as an engineer

Similar Posts


  1. Hi,

    I hope this is appropriate however I wanted to share that we have provided refresher courses for the FE exam since 2004. We have high pass rates and use seporate instructors for each subject of study.
    If this is not the propper place to put this please contact me.
    For info on the fundamentals of engineering or EIT exam refresher courses I provided a link below.
    Good Luck!

  2. Hello,

    I have done my Mechanical Engineering (Bachelor in Enginnering) from Pune University (India) and currently working in Virginia State (US).

    I am planning to give my FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam and was looking at the application details at

    Unfortunately, the details provided on the official website are little confusing for me and I am not sure about few things. IF someone can help me with this it will be great.

    1) Is there any one on this forum who has done his/her graduation from india and then given FE exam here in US?

    2) What additional forms do I need to submit in addition to ‘Engineer-in-Training Designation Application’?

    3) My language of Instructions while doing my graduation in India was ‘English’. Do I still need to provide TOEFLiBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score report along with my application?

    I would appreciate if anyone help me answering these questions and point me in right direction with FE exam application.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.